No. 4 Nevada Advances After Eliminating No. 5 Fresno State 10-2 on Friday
LAS VEGAS – The No. 4 Nevada Wolf Pack escaped elimination in the first game on Friday of the 2014 Mountain West Baseball Championship as they defeated the No. 5 Fresno State Bulldogs 10-2 at Earl E. Wilson Stadium.
Nevada (30-26) took the lead in the bottom of the first inning 3-0 when freshman center fielder Trenton Brooks hit a three-run homerun over the right field fence, scoring junior left fielder Kewby Meyer and junior first baseman Austin Byler on the play.
“I really just try to take good at bats and let my team drive me in … I love the way we play,” Brooks said after his 4-for-4, four-RBI performance.
The Wolf Pack got further production from junior shortstop Kyle Hunt when he hit a solo homerun off of Bulldog relief pitcher Jimmy Lambert to give his team a 4-0 lead. An inning later in the third, Hunt also was successful in a suicide squeeze bunt that allowed senior second basemen Scott Kaplan to score from third base, which gave Nevada a solid 6-0 lead.
Prior to Hunt’s suicide squeeze, Brooks hit an RBI single down the right field line that send home Meyer. Hunt meanwhile went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored.
Defensively, Hunt also had three putouts and four assists at shortstop that included turning an important double play in the top of the fifth inning when Fresno State had the bases loaded.
The Bulldogs’ Kaplan also was successful in a squeeze bunt where he had two RBI in the bottom of the eighth inning to score Brooks and junior outfielder Jay Anderson.
Sophomore pitcher Michael Fain got the start for Nevada and lasted 4.1 innings before Colby Blueberg came in in relief to pick up his fourth victory of the season. Blueberg (4-2) went 4.2 innings and gave up just two hits after facing 16 batters.
Before Friday’s loss, the Bulldogs were 18-5 in elimination games since the 2008 season when they won the College World Series. One of those 18 victories came over Nevada in this same elimination game in the 2013 MW tournament.
Fresno State used five different pitchers after junior starter William Munro (2-2) lasted just one inning and gave up three earned runs on three hits after facing the first eight batters of the game.
The Wolf Pack faces No. 2 New Mexico in their second game of the day at 3 p.m. PT on Friday afternoon. The MW tournament will continue at 7 p.m. PT in the ninth game when top-seeded UNLV hosts No. 3 San Diego State.